August 16, 2013
A mouth-watering design, with the use of innovative materials in architecture, has produced what seems to be the wildest dream of a chocoholic. A pavilion purely composed of chocolate.
Engineers at Princeton University have collaborated with the Belgian chocolate company Barry Callebaut, the biggest chocolate manufacturer in the world, to create the first ever functional structure made entirely out of chocolate.
"I think most people just do what has been done before, and I think that is very restricting," said Sigrid Adriaenssens, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton who participated in the said project. "I think especially in structural engineering, a lot of the systems that we use have specific names and people think that they can only use the systems that already exist."
The technological advancements in computer modeling and design software now make it possible for engineers to play with the feasibility of structures that have unorthodox materials, Adriaenssens said.
The team settled on a design that has more than 70 individual frames of chocolate that puzzle together into an open-air domed pavilion. The empty space between every frame aids in lightening the load. To sum it all up, the structure requires around 900 pounds (400 kilograms) of chocolate.
The structure is a mixture of sugar, cocoa powder, milk permeate and vegetable oil. However, it doesn’t technically qualify as "real" chocolate. Legally in America, the primary fat solid in marketable chocolate should be cocoa butter. You can actually eat it, but it wouldn’t be as good as your Belgian chocolate.
They opted for different fat rather than cocoa butter, choosing an option that better resisted problems in higher temperatures. Of course in a chocolate bar, the less it melts less in your mouth the worse it tastes (and feels) compared to real chocolate.
The life-size pavilion is up to 15 feet high and wide (2.5 meters) and is only a temporary installation instead of a permanent structure. It should last around a month, Adriaenssens said. Is that a month before it falls apart? Or a month until it's completely consumed? Hmm.
Oh, chocolate. You never cease to amuse me.